Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The writing challenge that (almost) swallowed me whole

Source: Pinterest

In case you didn't know, this month is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Ever since I decided not to participate, I've taken to obsessing about what I turned down: a completed novel come November 30.

I am desperate to complete my novel, but it's not happening because I've increased my work hours, I'm looking for a second job, I'm trying to navigate the messy new healthcare laws, I'm looking to buy a house, I'm trying to raise two kids, and I'm desperate to enjoy a slice of the day with my husband.

You probably know the drill. Life is making it difficult to pursue my professional dreams.

It sucks.

Then a friend and fellow blogger, Meghan, offered a writing challenge that I imagined I just might fit in between my runs to the rink for speed skating and my job interviews.

Without considering what my goals were or how I'd achieve them, I jumped in. Within hours my Twitter Inbox began chirping. Like an angel on one shoulder, the devil on the other, and my mom at my back, the tweets came in: "I wrote 1,000 words today." "I'm going on a writing retreat." "Just wrote an emotional passage.""Just checking in." "How many words have you written today?"

Me? I was overwhelmed with the mediocrity of my life.Writing…was…nowhere…on …the…agenda.

I began to feel guilty, and I contemplated lying about my progress so I wouldn't ruin Meghan's challenge.

Then, over the weekend, Meghan offered me an out. "Could you write just 20 minutes a day?" she tweeted. Her message fell softly on my desktop and, for the first time, I welcomed having a nudge. "Yes," I answered. "I could."

This week, I'm part of the group. I'm achieving, and it feels good. I may exit November with just a paragraph or two, but it's the progress toward the goal that's important to me right now.

What about you? What do you need to push yourself to achieve?

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